1 Biography 2 Partial bibliography 3 References 4 Further reading
Teapot of 1879
Dresser was born in Glasgow, Scotland, of a Yorkshire family. At age 13, he began attending the Government School of Design, Somerset House, London. He received training in design and took botany as his specialization. He lectured on the new subject of Art Botany to complete his studies before his appointment in 1855 as Professor of Artistic Botany in the Department of Science and Art, South Kensington. He wrote a series of articles that appeared in the Art Journal in 1857, "Botany as Adapted to the Arts and Art Manufactures". In 1858 he sold his first designs. In 1850 the University of Jena, Germany, where Schleiden held the chair, granted a conventional doctorate to Dresser on his submission of his books Rudiments of Botany (1859) and Unity in Variety (1859) and a short paper on plant structure; as Dresser did not attend the university his doctorate was awarded in absentia.
Soup pot, 1888
From this early date his design work widened to include carpets, ceramics, furniture, glass, graphics, metalwork, including silver and electroplate, and textiles printed and woven. He claimed to have designed "as much as any man" at the International Exhibition London 1862. As early as 1865 the Building News reported that in the early part of his career he had been active as a designer of wallpapers, textiles and carpets, and the most active revolutioniser in the decorative art of the day. He wrote several books on design and ornament, including The Art of Decorative Design (1862), The Development of Ornamental Art in the International Exhibition (1862), and Principles of Design (1873), which was addressed in the preface to "working men". In 1899 The Studio magazine found it was possible to quote this book "page after page and not find a line, scarcely a word, that would not be endorsed by the most critical member of the Arts and Crafts Association today." In effect Dresser set the agenda adopted by the Arts and Crafts movement at a later date. In 1873 he was requested by the American Government to write a report on the design of household goods. En route for Japan in 1876 he delivered a series of three lectures in the Philadelphia Museum and School of Industrial Art and supervised the manufacture of wallpapers to his design for Wilson Fennimore. He was commissioned by Messrs Tiffany of New York to form a collection, whilst in Japan, of art objects both old and new that should illustrate the manufactures of that country. In four months in 1876/1877 Dresser travelled about 2000 miles in Japan, recording his impressions in Japan, its Architecture, Art and Art-Manufactures. He represented the South Kensington Museum whilst in Japan, and was received at court by the Emperor, who ordered Dresser to be treated as a guest of the nation – all doors were open to him. He was requested by the Japanese Government to write a report on 'Trade with Europe'. His pioneering study of Japanese art is evident in much of his work which is considered typical of the Anglo-Japanese style. From 1879 to 1882 Dresser was in partnership with Charles Holme (1848–1923) as Dresser & Holme, wholesale importers of Oriental goods, with a warehouse at 7 Farringdon Road, London , next door to those of the American inventor and abolitionist, Thaddeus Hyatt (1816–1901).
Christopher Dresser. Soup Plate, Persia Pattern, 1886 Brooklyn Museum
Between 1879 and 1882, as Art Superintendent at the
Botany diagram, about 1855,
Unity in Variety as Deduced from the Vegetable Kingdom (1859) The Rudiments of Botany, Structural and Physiological (1859) Popular Manual on Botany (1860) The Art of Decorative Design (1862) Development of Ornamental Art in the International Exhibition (1862) General Principles of Art, Decorative and Pictorial, with hints on colour, its harmonies and contrasts (1868) Principles of Decorative Design (1873) Studies in Design (1875) Japan, its Architecture, Art and Art-Manufactures (1882) Modern Ornamentation (1886)
^ a b W.Halen. Christopher Dresser, 1990, p.17 ^ a b Morley, Christopher. Dresser's Decorative Design. 2010 p.256 ^ The dream factory. Alessi since 1921.p.115 ^ The Blackden Trust – Benefactors – Chris Lynch
Flanders, Judith. Inside the Victorian Home: a Portrait of Domestic
Life in Victorian England. New York: W. W. Norton, 2004.
Halen, Widar. Christopher Dresser, a Pioneer of Modern Design.
Phaidon: 1990. ISBN 0-7148-2952-8.
Durant, Stuart. Christopher Dresser. 1993
Snodin, Michael and John Styles. Design & The Decorative Arts,
Britain 1500–1900. V&A Publications: 2001.
Whiteway, Michael. Christopher Dresser. A Design Revolution. V & A
Publications, Cooper-Hewitt National Design Museum, Smithsonian
Institution, London 2004. ISBN 1-85177-427-0.
Lyons, Harry. Christopher Dresser. The People's
Wikimedia Commons has media related to Christopher Dresser.
This article's use of external links may not follow's policies or guidelines. Please improve this article by removing excessive or inappropriate external links, and converting useful links where appropriate into footnote references. (June 2016) (Learn how and when to remove this template message)
WorldCat Identities VIAF: 49322359 LCCN: n50029621 ISNI: 0000 0001 1061 5429 GND: 11852738X SUDOC: 033794030 BNF: cb124620434 (data) BIBSYS: 90397445 ULAN: 500042183 NDL: 00914889 BNE: XX1307165 RKD: 230